Firing up a PS4 VPN might not be the first thing you think about when settling in for a session, but once you start to consider what the best VPN can do for gamers, it all starts to make sense.
ISPs are known to throttle network connections, and this can be hell for any game that requires lightning reflexes. Network throttling is essentially when your connection is slowed down by your provider when it detects certain activity, with the main culprits being streaming, torrenting and, you guessed it, online gaming.
What's more, though, plenty of people use their PS4 for streaming TV and movies. A PS4 VPN can unblock a huge amount of content that might be unavailable in your country, including overseas Netflix titles and entire services like BBC iPlayer and Hulu.
What can you use a PS4 VPN for?
Choosing your PS4 VPN depends on what your main use is likely to be. If you're a big streamer, the best providers like ExpressVPN offer dedicated Smart DNS tools that allow you to change your location on the fly and access blocked content.
However, Sony's gaming machine doesn't natively support true VPN connections, meaning that if you're after privacy and security, and want to avoid network throttling, you'll need to set your PS4 VPN up as a router VPN to provide all-encompassing encryption – this can be a little complex, but has the added bonus of protecting any device that connects to your Wi-Fi.
Topping our list is the aforementioned ExpressVPN, thanks to its excellent speeds and security, plus super-simple Smart DNS setup and a dedicated router app that makes the whole process way easier.
However, there are a few other options that deliver different experiences, so below we'll run down the best PS4 VPNs on the market, and help you pick the right one for you – and do note that we haven't been able to test out the brand new PS5 in this capacity yet, so watch this space for a PS5 VPN guide soon.
1. ExpressVPN – the best PS4 VPN available
With excellent speeds, its MediaStreamer Smart DNS function, plus unrivalled router support, ExpressVPN is a one-stop-shop for your PS4 VPN needs. Plus, Tom's Guide readers can now claim three months free on any 12-month plan.
2. NordVPN – the biggest name is super secure
As quite possibly the biggest provider around, it's no surprise that NordVPN is a great PS4 VPN. With Smart DNS and router support (not quite as intuitive as Express's), it's a great choice if you're after a secure, superfast service – and at $3.71/mo, it's great value too.
3. Surfshark – the best-value VPN on the market
If you're looking for a cheap way of getting a PS4 VPN, Surfshark is your best bet. While it doesn't have quite the same in-depth features as Express or Nord, you'll still get Smart DNS plus router support – and it's seriously cheap at less that $2.50 a month.
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The five best PS4 VPNs today
While it's excellent across a wide range of other devices and we've come to expect ExpressVPN to deliver on PCs and mobiles, a PS4 VPN is quite a different beast – so we could've forgiven ExpressVPN had it not chosen to wade into this area. However, it has, and it's ended creating the best PS4 VPN on the market.
As with most of the other services in this guide, it's a two-pronged attack. Firstly, for those who want to change their location and unblock streaming media - or perhaps download region-locked games - the MediaStreamer Smart DNS tool is incredibly useful, and simple, too.
There are comprehensive instructions on-site should you need them, but the gist of it is that MediaStreamer is the simplest Smart DNS tool out there.
Then we come to router support, which is essential if you want to avoid network throttling, or simply keep yourself private and secure with a true PS4 VPN. This is because while Smart DNS can change your location, it doesn't encrypt your traffic. Only a VPN can do that, and sadly PlayStations can't don't support them.
ExpressVPN's router app, however, makes it easier than ever to get VPN protection on devices like PS4s and Smart TVs that don't natively support VPN. All you need to do is use the provided app (much easier than essentially hacking into your router to change settings on an antiquated dashboard), and hey presto – VPN protection for anything that's connected to your Wi-Fi.
While other providers do deliver similar features, it's safe to say that Express makes everything incredibly simple, and alongside the fact it's our #1-rated VPN overall, it's an easy recommendation.
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NordVPN comes a very close second to ExpressVPN when it comes to the PS4 VPN rankings – as you'd hope, considering that it's probably the biggest VPN on the market right now.
And essentially, you'll get just the same as you will from ExpressVPN: excellent Smart DNS that's capable of unblocking just about everything, and router support to cover every device in your household.
However, Nord doesn't quite have the level of support or dedicated software to help you set it up – especially on the router side of things. Smart DNS isn't too hard to get going at the worst of times, but setting up a VPN on your router can be a real PITA, and unfortunately Nord doesn't offer a huge amount of assistance in terms of dedicated apps.
But if you reckon you're up to the task, NordVPN is a still a hugely useful PS4 VPN once you've got it going, so it's definitely worth considering.
You'll get a useful Smart DNS – just like Nord and Express above – plus the ability to set Surfshark up on your router. Again, you won't have a dedicated app to help you set up the router, but once it's done you're all set to use your PS4 in privacy.
One thing we really appreciate about Surfshark is the fact that it allows unlimited simultaneous connections. So, you can use the Smart DNS on your PS4, and install it on pretty much any other device in your household – and if you're feeling really generous, you can share it out with people you live with, too.
In terms of PS4 performance, Surfshark's excellent, but it's bested by Nord and Express when it comes to in-depth features on other devices. While the apps are great and super simple to use, experts might be left wanting a little more configuration.
If you just want a cheap PS4 VPN to open up your streaming options, though, Surfshark is unbeatable.
Head over to Surfshark's website to sign up
So, we'll come out and say it straight away – Hotspot Shield doesn't offer a Smart DNS service, so you won't be able to use it directly on your PS4. However, we think it more than earns its place on this list for a couple of important reasons.
Firstly, it's a seriously fast VPN – the fastest we've ever tested, in fact. While its competitors are hardly slow, for gaming and streaming Hotspot Shield is ideal. (Be aware that while Hotspot Shield offers a great free VPN, we're talking about the premium version here.)
Secondly, while Smart DNS isn't available, router support is, and that's how you can take advantage of Hotspot Shield's security and speeds as a PS4 VPN. We know it won't be for everybody, but if you take the time to set it up on a compatible router, it's probably the service that's best suited to gaming. And, of course, you'll get access to tons of streaming content.
So, if you can stomach those caveats and want the absolute fastest PS4 VPN around, Hotspot Shield might be for you.
Closing off this guide is CyberGhost. While it's not the perfect PS4 VPN, it does offer some useful features that make it a viable option.
You'll get full Smart DNS support, so you can get it up and running on your PS4 directly, and you'll be able to choose from a wide range of over 6,300 servers which should ensure you can access pretty much everything you want to.
However, in our extensive testing, we did find one weakness – CyberGhost seems unable to access BBC iPlayer in regular use, so bear that in mind. We say that with an element of caution, though, as streaming support can fluctuate day-today.
If you're set on CyberGhost but want to ensure iPlayer does work, it offers a 45-day money-back guarantee that's really easy to claim back in case it doesn't perform as you expect, and at a mere $2.25 a month, it's a cheap VPN, too.
Alongside good router support, CyberGhost is an impressive PS4 VPN, but it's overshadowed by some stiff competition that, in most areas, performs far better for a similar price.
Best PS4 VPN FAQ
What is the best PS4 VPN?
The best PS4 VPN needs to have great speeds, Smart DNS support, simple apps for routers and other devices as well as top streaming performance – and that's why we've ranked ExpressVPN as the best PS4 on the market today.
Its MediaStreamer Smart DNS is class-leading, and it's one of the few VPNs that offers a dedicated app for setting up a VPN on a router. Plus, it's super simple to use, and if you have any trouble the support teams are responsive and helpful. What more could you want?
Why do I need a PS4 VPN?
If you use your PS4 to stream, having a PS4 VPN that supports Smart DNS will be hugely useful. You'll be able to unblock regional streaming services and access extra content on Netflix, plus you might also be able to download geo-blocked games.
If you decide to install your PS4 VPN on your router, you'll get full VPN encryption too, which will secure your gaming and browsing – plus you'll also be able to change your location whenever you want to access different content.
A VPN on your router will also help you avoid network throttling, which slows down your connection and makes games less satisfying to play.
Are there any PS5 VPN services?
Frankly, we're not sure yet. We haven't been able to get our mitts on a PS5 to fully test it in terms of VPN support, but we can 100% say that using a VPN on a router will have the same affect as it does with a PS4.
We can also almost certainly say that it will support Smart DNS, but we'll hold fire on any concrete answers until we can thoroughly test its performance ourselves.
We don't expect in-built VPN support, so the workarounds outlined in this article will probably still apply.